Wednesday, October 12, 2011

iPad Learning

A guest post by Joseph Baker

With the passing of Steve Jobs, classrooms around the world are reminded of the impact of the iPad.  The innovative touch-screen technology and user-friendly interaction has revolutionized the tech industry as a whole and given students a window into the world.  Given the recent events, it is important to remember that the effects of one man’s vision are being felt by everyone who was impacted by that vision, from the one adult writing this article to the student in India who, for the first time, can interact with the world through a magic window which fits into the palm of their hand.

The benefits of the iPad and iPad 2 far outweigh the entertainment values they support.  Jobs created the iPad to bridge the gap between the user and technology.  His goal automatically lends itself to education, as later generations will have the requirement of technological acclimation.  So the educational value of the iPad is much more pertinent and allows the user to learn through experience and interaction. 

The Textbook
Textbooks for K-12 and higher education are available online to read, interact with, and share.  Any college student can tell you that his/her budget each year is swelled by the expense of textbooks. But now college students can read and rent books online.  Online schools have already utilized such technology in getting the text to their students and allowing them to virtually interact with other students and the teachers.   

With an iPad 2 students have a tablet that functions like an e-reader that displays pictures, audio and video. Students can even highlight important sections and take notes directly onto the tablet—similar to the experience with a print copy of the text.  All-in-all, the iPad 2 is a clear advantage, not to mention being naturally greener.

More content sharing
Content sharing is a new trend being pushed in education. Students are encouraged to share notes and research not only with friends and classmates but with people around the world.
There is a product called AirPlay that allows users to stream content directly from the IPad 2, IPhone, or IPod onto a HDTV via AppleTV. Now video captured on a phone can be shared with an entire room with a few clicks of a button and using the iOS 4.3 system.  Photos can shared with added effects from the slide show feature.

New additions
iPad 2 has the ability to constantly improve on its capabilities by being updated with new apps. There are apps for nearly every subject like translating languages to math tools and medical tips.  
The iPad 2 is also compatible with learning platforms like Blackboard that many colleges are using. This is key for online school students, as they can sign in and complete assignments for their courses directly from the iPad.  Integrated with the textbooks feature, a student can complete a degree from the comforts of their own home and still have the same interactions with a campus as they would if they were there in person.

The foundation the iPad has built is vast and the options are many. Essentially, the perception generated from the experience meshes with the student as a person, helping both with retention and application.  The vision of Steve Jobs is made manifest and finds its reward in the life of every student who can now work within a world that fits into the confines of a backpack.

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